skinny's Blog

    FuzzFace Workshop Results!

    I've been meaning to write short blog posts about the results of the workshops we put on. I got an email asking me about the last one and it reminded me to actually do it. So here it is!


    I roped my friend Jim Titus into giving a workshop about guitar pedals since he started building them in his free time. The workshop started out with a presentation which you can download here. Jim talks about the history of guitar distortion which is very entertaining. Then he played some samples of early guitar distortion, there was a country song named "Don't Worry" by Marty Robbins which had an awesome sounding distorted bass. I'm not a country fan, but that part of the song rules. Jim then talked about the distortion circuit and showed some enclosures off (which became important later!)


    Then it was build time! We all got our kits and got to work. We all help each other through the build and eventually tested them on Jim's o-scope so we could see the affect the pedal had on a sine wave.


    There was an issue when we actually tried to use the pedals without an enclosure: there was no shielding and there was too much noise. Lucky for us one of the folks, Bruce Mulligan, had built an enclosure ahead of time. Bruce and his daughter built up their kit and installed it in the enclosure. After figuring out a grounding issue we had the distortion we were looking for!

    Click below to listen to the pedal:


    Be sure to check out our next workshop, Advanced Microcontroller Audio with Paul Stoffregen

    Random November 2nd Meeting Photos!

    I just thought I'd post some random photos and projects from the last DorkbotPDX meeting.  Lots of fun stuff.

    Tom Hudson brought his shaking haunted house. He worked on it with his coworkers at OMSI. It uses a saber saw as the shaking mechanism. Pretty sweet. He's posted an Instructable about it if you're more interested.

    DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015


    DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

    Mykle Hansen brought his Teensy Synth project. It made some sweet, crunchy sounds. I think it is based off of this project.

    DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

    Mathew Lippincott brought his Portal Gun from Rick and Morty. It used an 800 lumen flashlight to project the portal! Very cool!

    DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

    Scott Dixon brought a new robotics platform that he's playing around with. It's not hooked up to his Bluetooth Barbie steering wheel yet, but maybe soon. I didn't catch what the platform actually is, maybe he'll chime in on the comments.

    DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

    Here were some folks playing with using balloons to diffuse LEDS. Reminds me of this project.

    DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

    Finally, some folks just hacking together. I didn't find out what they were doing, maybe they'll chime in on the comments below. DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015


    Fun projects, great to see so many projects on display!


    Art and tech events this week!

    We are extremely lucky this week to have THREE art/tech events happening here in Portland featuring artwork from some of our favorite creative coders. Have fun and support your art/tech community by coming out for these events! The first two are part of First Thursday and you can easily walk between them.

    Dungeon Hacker at DIODE Gallery Thursday Feb 5 6PM-9PM 514 NW Couch Featuring Dan Cohen, Ryan Johnson, Andy Lunday, and Gabe Shaughnessy

    Electric Fields by Jeremy Rotsztain at UPFOR Gallery Thursday Feb 5 6PM-8PM - 929 NW Flanders

    ByteMe 4.0 at AFRU Gallery Friday Feb 6 6PM-11PM - 534 SE Oak St. Featuring Church of Robotron, Libby White, John Brown, Ben Purdy, and more!

    A few of us worked on the Church of Robotron install for ByteMe, so here's a far too large flier for it!

    This is how we disappear - projection notes

    I’ve been meaning to document my work on this project for about year now. TBA 2014 reminded me it is time to actually do it! So here it is:

    For the past year and a half I’ve been working with a dance company called bobbevy. I’ve been creating graphics that go along with the dance performance called “This is how we disappear”. Here’s a review at Portland Monthly.


    This is how we disappear - projection edit from Brian Richardson on Vimeo.


    More behind the scenes information after the break!


    The Church of Robotron is coming to Portland, OR. We will be open the Last Wednesday of September (the 24th) and the First Thursday of October (the 2nd) starting at 7pm both nights at the Diode Gallery (514 NW Couch St) which is across the street from Ground Kontrol. We'll have multiple versions of Robotron 2084 available to train with and we will be triggering physical events in response to game events. One example: lasers when lasers are shot in game. For info about how this is accomplished, check out this older post.

    Right now, we have an installation in the window at the gallery which is running 24/7 until October 3rd. It features a fully playable version of Robtron 2084, sermons, and a leaderboard that has pictures of all who attempt to become the mutant savior. Here's a video of it:

    The window sensor is a capacitive sensor that was made by Philip Odom. He used the same techniques he taught during the Capacitive Sensing Workshop. Jason Plumb got audio working by using a transducer that turns the window into a speaker. The sign was built by Debbie Wager. Finally, this was all integrated together by the rest of the church.

    Come check out the window anytime! Come to our open nights (9/24 & 10/2), check out this post for an idea of what to expect!

    Processing Fundamentals

    DorkbotPDX invites you to "Processing Fundamentals".

    A free workshop at Flux

    DorkbotPDX is happy to offer a 4-hour intro to Processing -- a graphics programming environment. Students will learn the basics of Processing.
    No prior programming experience required!


    • When: Sunday, April 27. 2-6pm
    • Where: Flux Hackerspace (412 NW Couch #222, Portland, OR)
    • Cost: FREE!!!
    • Bring: A laptop with Processing 2.0 installed (if you can)
    • RSVP:

    Source code: Processing_Fundamentals

    Built with Processing and Processing.js

    Use MAME's debugger to reverse engineer and extend old games

    Use MAME's debugger to reverse engineer and extend old games

    For the Church of Robotron's installation at Toorcamp 2012, we needed to be able to trigger physical events when game events happened in Robotron 2084. A quick summary for context:

    • We had an Altar that contained a Linux box that ran MAME and Robotron 2084
    • We had joysticks that acted as HID devices
    • Player would kneal down and play the game. As events happened in the game (player death, human death, lasers firing), we would trigger physical events.

    We choose to use MAME's debugger to detect game events and notify other pieces of software when they happened. This is a quick tutorial for others (and a reminder to ourselves) if you're interested in doing similar things. We're going to find out how to detect player death!